Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hill Climbin'

Hills were the theme of the week. I got back to Keene and got right down to business. I was horribly sore all week but the nice weather made the screaming of my quads almost bearable. It was wonderful to be able to run barefoot again!

Monday- AM- 3 easy + strength routine
PM- 2 miles w/u, Drummer Hill- 2xmile (5:44, 5:52), 4x400 (63s) 4x200 (28s, last in 25) Felt awful. 2 mile c/d

Tuesday- AM- 3 miles easy, 30min hurdle work. I haven't hurdled since last spring; it went surprisingly well.
PM- mile jog, drills, then 7 miles slow through muddy trails (52 min). 6x60m sprints on grass after. Felt awful and sore.

Wednesday: AM- 3 easy, right quad barely functioning
PM= 5 min jog to attempt to loosen up right quad, 10 mile tempo with Wilson on very hilly course- 55:57. That's a great effort over that course- last year, 6 days before indoor nationals, I ran 58:20 for the same loop and it was a really hard effort. There are several climbs of a mile or more on this loop. Afterward, 8x150 fast on the grass, walk back rest. The tempo felt surprisingly good despite the bad quad but it was next to impossible to get going on the 150s.

Thursday- AM- 3 easy with Jared + 20 min hurdling.
PM- 1 mile jog, drills. 7 miles slow through muddy trails (51:30) then 4x60m sprints after. Felt awful- sluggish and sore.

Friday- AM- 5 easy with Amy, feeling a little better. Abs + pushups after.
PM- 5 barefoot on the grass, Pete jumped in with me for the middle two. Drills after.

Saturday- At Trinity Invite, 3 mile warmup, 5x3min on, 2 min off at fast intensity, 5 mile c/d.

Sunday- 13 easy- first 10 miles were fine, but right about 70 minutes into the run, the clouds opened up and we ran through a freezing deluge all the way back. The run went from being kinda pleasant to thoroughly miserable in about five seconds. Hands too numb to do laces, so I showered with my shoes on.

Total- 85

Solid first week back- I felt like crap all week from all the hill climbing but I was satisfied with the week's training. Next Saturday I'll be doing my first race of the outdoor season- a steeplechase at Fitchburg State. If I have any kind of affinity for it, I'll probably do a 1500/steeple double at Nationals. If it goes poorly, I'll go 1500/5000 most likely.

Have a nice week, everyone.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Down Week

Not much going on here with me- this was my spring break and I just jogged 6-7 a day. The highlights of the week included traveling down to Hofstra to visit my high school buddy Owen Graham. I had a blast, guys, and if they know what's good for them, they'd better visit Keene on their spring break.

Tomorrow, hard training for the outdoor season begins in earnest. I'm revisiting Old Man Drummer and I'm looking forward to the meeting- Drummer Hill can almost be nice when the weather isn't awful.

I hate tapering, I hate down weeks, and I hate time off. Fortunately, I've reached the end of all of that and it's time to start the hard work. I'm really looking forward to the season.

Lastly, RIP trackshark.

Have a good week, everybody.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Season Recap

I don't really divide my training year into distinct seasons- thus, I have no set beginning and set end to "indoor track." I'll spare, then, estimations of total mileage and average miles per week- those figures are always misleading anyway, since an arithmetic mean doesn't take into account peaking or days off or (like I dealt with) sickness/injury.

However, we'll start with some statistics- my indoor personal records in November 2008 compared to my indoor personal records now:

Nov 08

400m: 52.2 (relay split)

800m: 1:56.7 (relay split)

1000m: 2:29.06

Mile: 4:10.44

3000m: 8:40.3

5000m: DNR

March 09:

400m: 52.0 (relay split)

800m: 1:54.11

1000m: 2:28.75

Mile: 4:08.62

3000m: 8:24.94 (unattached, so it's not on my direct athletics page)

5000m: 14:49.64

In terms of the clock, it was a successful season. I set personal bests over every distance at which I compete. Unfortunately, a poorly-timed illness caused me to miss 10 days of training- 4-5 actual running days and another 4-5 days of jogging and getting back into it. The workouts I missed were the bread and butter miler workouts- 10x400, 5x600, 20x200, etc. Fortunately, with a lot of strength and a little speedwork, you can run a decent mile (as I demonstrated when I ran 4:08 and 4:09 in the last three weeks). However, without that crucial "hold form when exhausted" work, I was unable to hit my goal of 4:05 for the season. These things happen.

More importantly, however, than a sickness I couldn't control, was that I came a long way this season in terms of training intensity. I've always raced above what my workouts suggest- the workouts of a 4:15 miler brought me to 4:10 last year, and the workouts of maybe a 4:12 guy brought me to 4:08 this year. I have been trying to work out according to my goals, and up to the point I got sick this season, I was doing a better job of that.

All in all, indoors was a frustrating season for me- I trained very hard and never really got to see the fruits of that labor since I got sick. It was a humbling experience to go from one day running mile repeats under 4:40 and just coasting along to not being able to walk up stairs a few days later. Being sick, though, allowed me to demonstrate to myself just how hard I'm capable of pushing. That DMR collapse was a direct result of me attempting to ignore the frailties of an infected body and if I had made it another 5 laps, I'd have looked like a genius. As it was, even collapsing and being unable to finish taught me that I can toe the red line with the best of them.

That being said, my training was far from ideal. Pete and I did a little comparison between my training and the stuff Jen Adams was doing last year. Relative to our personal bests at the 800, mile, 3000, and 5000, Jen trained much much harder and at a higher intensity than I do. Being honest with myself, I didn't push as hard as I should have in workouts (though being sick had a lot to do with that) and didn't do enough tempo-type stuff. Running-specific stuff aside, there was a lot of what Wilson Perez calls "the nitty gritty" I didn't do enough of. That includes stuff like core work, drills, strides, flexibility work, hurdle work, etc that you're supposed to do after your run but often gets skipped when its cold and windy and you just want to get in the shower. If I want to improve as an athlete, I need to be more consistent with my ancillary work as well as training harder and smarter.

So what's next from here? The long term plan Peter and I have for me has always been to move up. However, the way we see it, it's better to be a 1:52/4:00 guy running the 5k than a 1:55/4:10 guy. I know that, being a guy with limited speed, my best events lie in ones longer than I'm running now. There's still work to be done in the shorter distances, though, so while this outdoor season I might start to more seriously explore the 5k, my focus will still be on running well at the shorter stuff first. Being young still I have a lot of time to figure out where my best events lie, and in the spirit of exploration, this spring I'll be giving the steeplechase a try. When I get back to school I'll be relearning how to hurdle (I did last spring, but hurt my shin in practice and never got to try an actual steeple). I think the steeple will be a good event for me, but we'll see. I'm not sure how the racing schedule is shaping up so far, as Peter and I still aren't sure if we're going to go more 800/1500 or 1500/longer race yet. Right now I'm leaning towards a steeple/5k for a secondary focus but if I go 1500/800 I'll have a training partner in Najem, who will be trying to double at Nationals.

I hope the blog has been at least a little useful to anyone out there reading it. I'll keep it up through outdoors and see where it takes me. Thank for reading, everyone!


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Last Training Week Log for Indoor

Nothing really exciting here, kiddos. Just the paltry amount of running I did this week + a little nationals racing recap. BTW, thanks Walt- I don't know exactly who you are but it's nice to have support out there. Likewise, thanks to everyone else who's reading and and commenting. It means a lot.

Monday- 3pm- 7 easy
9:30pm- 5 easy indoors w/George

Tuesday- 3:00pm- 2 miles w/u, last Baker St workout til next December. 1x660 (1:28) 220 jog, 440 in 62, 440 jog, 3x220 (27, 27, 26) 220 jog rest, 4x110 all out (untimed) with 110 jog. 2 miles c/d.

Wednesday- Wake up at 5:30am, travel all day- Manchester to Detroit to Indianapolis, drive to Terre Haute. 30 min shakeout jog + strides with Najem before dinner.

Thursday- 30 min jog with Najem, plus barefoot strides on Rose-Hulman's infield. It was like 55 out- beautiful, compared to what we've had the last few weeks.

Friday- AM- 2 mile shakeout
PM- 3 miles warmup, 1st heat mile prelim. While I have confidence in my finishing abilities, I didn't want to let things go slow. The way these prelims usually work is that the first heat goes out in a jog (last year the first heat hit 2:22 at the half) and everyone blasts the last half- 1st and last place gets separated by like five yards, then the second heat gets all the time qualifiers (at d3, the top 3 from each heat plus the next four fastest times advance to the final). Rather than risk getting boxed in and miss the final by a foot or something equally dumb, I just went to the front and clipped off a 4:11 mile, not bothering to sprint in with Kosgei and McConnell from Elmhurst since I was third and assured of a spot in the final. I realized before I ran that with travel and everything, it had been more than 24 hours since I had drank any liquid at all. That just meant that the 4:11 I ran was harder than it needed to be and I had an absolutely pounding headache when I finished. I drank a gallon (no exaggeration- 128 oz of water) of water before dinner and it was fine. It was just stupid of me to forget to drink water. After the race I got in two miles of barefoot jogging on the grass- beautiful weather again.

Saturday- AM- 2 mile shakeout
PM- 2 miles barefoot jogging, mile final at Nationals- 3rd, 4:09.81. I didn't feel fantastic going into this race, but I kept telling myself I was just nervous because unlike last year, where there was no pressure on me at all (being a freshman and everything), this year, I had a "win or nothing" mentality going in. At the time, I felt like if I didn't win, I had wasted Peter's time. Anyway, Mack Chaffee from Williams did the brave thing and ran from the front, pulling us through in 62, 2:05, and 3:08. I was following him so closely I got some nice spike wounds but with 3 laps to go, I was pinned on the rail by Kosgei. With 200 to go I got free, went wide around the turn, and thought, with 150 to go, I was going to win. Then Kosgei found another gear and I rigged, failing to hold off a great last charge by Brian McConnell. I ended up being 3rd, no improvement on last year's place, but looking over at the field, it was a very deep group of guys this year. Last place was 4:11.6 or so- faster than the winning time from last year. I've had more time to think about my performance- I'm still not pumped about third, but then again, like three or four weeks ago I couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without doubling over, exhausted. I came back, pr'd in the mile and still got an All-American award. Not what I wanted, but not bad either. Mack and I had a nice 20 minute jog afterward before the necessary celebrations that night.

Sunday- Day off, traveling. I'm stealing the neighbor's wireless to post this and it's nice to sit down and have something my mom cooked instead of more restaurant food.

I'm sure there's a lot of stuff I've forgotten to say, but I did want to make sure I mentioned that my former high school teammate and current college teammate, Peter Najem, went out on top his senior year- 4th place in the 800 in the best race I've ever seen him run.

Look forward to the recap tomorrow or Tuesday. . . I have a lot of papers to grade for the class I TA for, so we'll see.

Winning Isn't Everything. . .

. . . it's the only thing. I know, I know- as runners, we're supposed to be pleased with good results and realize that a national championship (even a baby one) is too rare to really count on unless you're truly a class above the field.

Well, I think that's dumb. I didn't go Nationals to get 3rd. I went to win. But the fact of the matter is that I was 3rd- two very good runners beat me. It wasn't a case of "if only this" or "if only that" happened; I gave it my very best shot and at the end of the day, two guys were better. So, while I'm not satisfied at all with 3rd, I am proud that I did my best and motivated to train even harder so that next time, I can do better. It's an interesting juxtaposition of feelings. On one hand, I'm incredibly disappointed in myself. On the other, I'm proud that I did what I could.

Anyway, in the next few days, I'm going to do a season recap in an attempt to demonstrate where I could have done more, where I screwed up, and what I'm going to do in the future to improve myself.

A few thoughts on Nationals in general.

1) The whole mile field this year was made of a great group of guys. Last place this year was faster than the winner last year. But, beyond that, I sensed very little actual ill-will between us. Even before the race, everyone was chatting and joking around like we were old friends or something. Not to be all cheesy, but it was fun meeting all these fast kids from other schools and recognizing something familiar in them. It was a really cool experience that I think I was too nervous to notice last year.

2) The 5k looks like it would be an absolute blast to race, and I'm really excited to be moving up in the next year or two. The two track 5k's I've run have both been solo efforts, so RACING one will be an experience to look forward to.

3)It was great to get out of the Northeast for a while and enjoy running barefoot on the grass again. I hope spring is heading up to New Hampshire soon.

Anyway, I'm posting from the airport and my laptop battery isn't exactly state of the art, so I'll have to do the log for the week later tonight when I get come. The season recap will probably take a couple days.

Thanks for the all the good lucks and well-wishing, everyone.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Hello there, internet. . .

It's 11:24pm on Tuesday night, and I should be in bed. We're leaving Keene tomorrow at 5:45am to make our flight out of Manchester (hopefully we don't get delayed by the weather!) and I have of course left packing to the last minute, and decided to write a blog at the 11th hour.

I won't say much, other than I'm excited to get out there and show everybody how hard I've worked this season. I'm also excited (and mark this down as the first time anyone has ever said this) to be traveling to Indiana. Why? It's another state I've never been to, and once again, running has taken me somewhere I never thought I'd go otherwise. . . like Indiana.

Everybody so inclined, do me a favor and pray for clear skies tomorrow so we're not sitting in the airport, dozing unrestfully. And while you're at it, pray my paper on Cicero's "On the Ideal Orator" gets a good grade.

My prelim is Friday at around 4 and the final is Saturday at 2:10- think good thoughts, everyone!

Thanks for all the support and thanks for reading- it's been fun to hear people's reactions to the blog when I see them at meets (except for the Gilmore twins' reactions, of course- you sarcastic assholes).


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Road to Nationals

Hey, everyone. This week had it's ups and downs- the main thing being that we just weren't all firing at the same time on the DMR, and for the third year in a row, we just missed qualifying.


Monday- AM- 3 easy with Amy
PM- 5 easy indoors- to pass the time we took a trip to middle school days and ran a few miles Indian File.

Tuesday- 3pm- 2 miles warmup, Baker St- 4x110y (13) with 110y jog rest, 3x220 (27s) with 220 jog rest, 2x330 (43s) 330 jog rest, 3x220 (28, 27, 27) 220 jog rest, 4x110 untimed but all out. Cold out again. 3 mile c/d.

8pm: 2 mile jog, core, stretching.

Wednesday- 3pm- 7 miles easy, 50 min
9pm: 4 miles easy- 30 min.

Thursday- 3pm- 7 miles easy, 48 min.

Friday- AM- 2 miles shakeout, 16min
PM- 2 miles warmup, DMR at ECAC's- 10:07.12 to miss nationals by a few spots- I split 4:10, getting the baton about 50 yards behind the lead group. To get a relay into nationals, everybody needs to be on- and not everybody was on this time. It's no one's fault- just one of those unfortunate things. Had I been healthy a few weeks ago, we would have made it in easily. 3 mile c/d.

Saturday- AM- 2 mile shakeout
PM- 2 mile warmup, 800 race at ECAC's- 1:54.11 for 4th. Physically speaking, I am in fantastic shape. I felt like I was jogging the whole way. Tactically speaking, I made about every mistake I could make. I got a terrible start, ran wide too much, got boxed in at a crucial stage in the race, and had no room to go anywhere in the last 150, even though my body was screaming at me to let it sprint. In a less crowded race, a 1:53 was right there- but no sweat. I had a good two-day double, felt great doing it, and am 100% ready for nationals this week.

Sunday- AM- off, slept in.
PM- 10 miles easy, hilly course, plus strides.

Total- 62

All in all, it was a good week in terms of how I've been feeling and how easy the races were. It was unfortunate to not make it in the DMR and a minor inconvenience to not make it in the 800, but I'm fine with racing the mile fresh. It's always nice to have more teammates at Nationals, but the nature of a relay is there's no guarantee everybody will be "on" at once.

Thumbs Up: To PETER NAJEM! Our 400 leg, Elias, hurt his knee pretty bad on his warmup and couldn't run. Najem, despite having already eaten dinner, jumped from the sidelines, stripped out of his street clothes, and got a uniform on less than 5 minutes before the start. He split a 51 second 400 and looked great doing it, despite the tiny warning and lack of warmup. It was a total class act thing to do- he could have said "no way, I don't want to pull a hammy trying to sprint without warming up first, and I've already qualified for the 800." Instead he did everything he could to help us qualify-- totally worthy of a giant, giant thumbs up. I should also point out Peter and I are both Pinkerton graduates and we still hold the school record in the 4x800 there- so his success this year at 800 meters is unsurprising to our high school coaches!

We leave for Indiana and DIII glory (some might say baby glory, haha) on Wednesday- have a great week, everyone!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Don't Call it a Comeback

Hi everyone! It was a big weekend for racing- I had the All-Division New England Championships and they went well for my first races back from a pretty serious illness.

First, to address some letsrun rumors (since Peter prefers I don't post on letsrun about the team/myself):

I did not have bronchitis, I had some kind of lung and sinus infection. I was on meds for a few days and on a lung capacity test, I was performing at about 85% below the "average" lung capacity for a guy my height and weight. Assuming my lung capacity is a little above average (which I would hope) I would think my lungs were working on about 75% of normal the last 2-3 weeks (including when I ran that 1:54 800 a few weeks ago). I'm all better now and hope to be racing at full capacity next week and the week after at D3 Nationals.

Anyway, the log-

Monday- PM- 2mile wu, Baker St- 1x660 (1:27, 60 seconds at 440), 220 jog, 440 in 61, 440 jog, 440 in 61, 440 jog, 440 in 62, 4x220 in 29, 29, 28, 27 with 220 jog. Felt like poo. 3 mile c/d. Total 8.5

Tuesday- 3pm- 7 miles easy, 49:20
8pm- 3 miles easy indoors, including strides. 5 min abs with Amy

Wednesday- 2 miles wu, Baker St- 6x440 in 66, 64, 64, 63, 63, 62, 61 220 jog. Cold and windy, felt like shit again. 2 miles c/d.

Thursday- 3pm- 7 miles easy (45, probably a little short by a min or so) 5xstrides. 5 min abs with Amy.
8pm- 3 miles very slow with Amy, 25:02

Friday- AM 3.5 easy in Boston- 57 out!
PM- 3 mile wu, DMR Anchor- 4:11.8 (2:11.5/2:00.3, last 400 in 57.high), felt pretty damn effortless. 2 mile cd.

Saturday- AM- 2 mile shakeout, 16:33.
PM- 3 mile wu, mile race in 4:08.62 pr, (61, 2:03, 3:06) 2 mile c/d. 2 hours rest, 2 mile warmup, leadoff leg, 4x800- 1:55.5, (58.5/57.0) handed off in 2nd, team ran 7:55 for 16th. 1.5 c/d.

Sunday- AM- 10 miles very slow, 82 minutes, nice big group. We're thinking the run was a little longer than ten but who knows, we might have been going that slow.

Total- 64

Overall, a pretty good week. We ran an "A minus" team in the DMR- Elias (our 400 leg from the A team) and I ran, but Corey Loonan and Eric MacKnight ran the 1200 and 800 legs, respectively. Our goal was to run about 10:15, ensuring we'd be in the fast heat at ECACs next weekend, which should be a fast enough race to get us to nationals. Corey split 3:07 (pr-ing by 6 seconds through the 1000) and Eric split 1:58.7, his first sub-2 800 and showing pretty decent range for a guy who runs the 10k. I got the baton a little behind the anchor from Umass Dartmouth and just sat for the first half of the race. Once I heard 2:11, I did some math and figured out I'd need to run about a 2:06 to hit 10:15, so I went by and with three laps to go, decided to open up a little and see what I was capable. I ended up striding out a little the last three laps in 30, 29, 28 feeling very easy. I stepped off the track feeling like I had run a 4:16 or so. If the pace is slow at D3 nationals, I have confidence.

The mile on Saturday was a weird race. Some Uconn kid took it out real fast- my 61 and 2:03 barely left me holding contact with second place. Through 800, I was thinking "ok, ok, the Uconn kid is going to come back, just wait til 1200 and make one decisive move." Unfortunately for me, the Uconn kid ate shit a lap early and came back to me within about 100 meters instead of 400. With three laps to go, I took the lead and figured I was probably screwed but determined to beat the odds and just grind the field down. 3:06 is the fastest I've ever split through 1200 and peeking at the clock, I thought "shit, I'm going to run 4:05!" and started revving up. Unfortunately, with 300 to go, the rig set in and the rest of the rest was me attempting to sprint but doing little more than resisting deceleration. In the last 150, I was holding on, barely, to second place when a freshman from Maine came past me. In the end, I had to be content with a 4:08.62 PR, 3rd place again in the All-Division Meet. I was happy to come back from being sick with a PR, but again, 4:08 is slower than what I'm capable of. My consolation was that I'm now the fastest miler in Division III this season.

Off the 4x800, I won't say much. I felt like crap, got an awful start, and hung out in the back through the 400 in 58.5. With 300 to go I weaved my way through traffic and kicked well on the last lap (about 27.xx) to hand off in 2nd place and split 1:55.5. Unfortunately, the rest of the guys were tired from their third race in two days and while we ran respectable, we didn't really run up to potential.

Next week we'll be running our A team in the DMR at ECACs, hoping to make it nationals. Fortunately, Tufts is a flat track so we don't have to worry about conversions, we can just run. I'll also be running the 800 the next day- if we make it in the DMR, it will just be a speed day for nationals. If we don't make it in the DMR, I'll be hoping to qualify for nationals.

Have a good week, everyone. Oh, and please excuse any typos. I'm an English major. . . I do enough proofreading to want to comb over a blog entry.